A Critical Analysis of Bernice Morgan’s Portrayal of Female Characters and their Experiences

Catherine McCarthy

    Research output: Types of ThesisMaster's Thesis


    Due to the decline of the oral tradition and the omission of women’s stories from the official narrative, records of those living in the rural Outport communities of Newfoundland were rapidly vanishing. Within the sub-genre of Newfoundland women’s writing, and classed as part of a settler literature, Bernice Morgan’s fictional novels Random Passage and Waiting for Time offer insights into the daily lives of 19th and 20th century women living in the Outports, thus retrieving their stories from the margins of the male-dominated literary canon to ensure their survival. As Morgan’s novels focus on women’s narratives, this thesis provides a critical analysis of her portrayal of female characters, and their experiences. It contends that these characters negotiate the boundaries of transcendence and immanence and explore the possibility for a partial transcendence. In particular, the thesis investigates how Morgan’s fictional account of female experience within the 19th and 20th centuries reflects the social and cultural mores of these periods, and analyses how the novels explore the attempts made by women to extend their legacy and impact beyond the confines of the domestic space. Informed by the existentialist feminist theories of Simone de Beauvoir, the study considers the characters within three stages of their lives – as young girls, married and unmarried women, and as mothers. The incorporation of socio-cultural and historical elements further informs contextual detail relating to women’s situation during the timeframes of the novels. By depicting both characters who conform to and diverge from conventional female roles, Morgan both facilitates a more encompassing representation of life experience in the Outports, and illustrates how her female characters’ choices and attempts to extend their legacies enable them to occupy liminal spaces of partial transcendence.
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Kealy, Una, Supervisor
    • O'Dowd-Smyth, Christine, Supervisor
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2019


    • Bernice Morgan, Female characters


    Dive into the research topics of 'A Critical Analysis of Bernice Morgan’s Portrayal of Female Characters and their Experiences'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this